For Some Homeless, a One-Way Ticket Out
With a budget of half a million dollars a year, the Bloomberg administration has bought one-way tickets for more than 550 families to leave the city for relativesâ€™ homes since 2007, as a way of keeping them out of the expensive shelter system. They have been flown to Paris ($6,332), Orlando ($858.40), Johannesburg ($2,550.70), or most frequently, San Juan ($484.20). In contrast the shelter costs $36,000 a year per family.
All it takes is relatives elsewhere who might be willing to take them in. A family could be on a plane, bus or train within hours, although the city will sometimes wait a few days to avoid the expense of last-minute fares. So far, families have been sent to 24 states and 5 continents, most often to Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
Critics say that New York is passing the problem of homelessness to another city.
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